Commentary

July 3, 2014

Notarial services explained

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Sgt. Anthony Lancaster
Paralegal Specialist OSJA, NTC and Fort Irwin

Notary-stamp_2
Have you ever needed to get something notarized or get a certified copy of a document?

The Fort Irwin Legal Assistance Office provides notarial services, and this article is intended to clear up any misconceptions about what can be notarized or certified by the office.

It is important to understand that there are two types of notaries in the Legal Assistance Office, military and civilian. While both are able to notarize most documents, each is limited in some way. This can cause some confusion. For example, real estate documents should generally be notarized by a civilian, but certified copies of military records can only be done by a military notary.

Military notaries are paralegal specialists, paralegal non-commissioned officers, judge advocates, and civilian attorneys who have notarial authority under Title 10 United States code 1044a. Civilian notaries are the civilian employees in the Legal Assistance Office who have been appointed and commissioned by the California Secretary of State. Army Regulation 27-55 explains the documents that military and civilian notaries are able to notarize and certify. The Secretary of State Notary Public Handbook further explains what civilian notaries are authorized to do.

According to AR 27-55, there are types of documents that a notary cannot notarize, such as: unsigned documents, documents not signed in the presence of the notary, false statements, pre or post dated documents, or perform notarial services for a transaction known or suspected to be illegal, false or deceptive, or for someone who is being coerced. Notaries also cannot certify the authenticity of public, official, registered, or court records, or issue certified copies of such documents or solemnize marriages. Notaries cannot provide legal advice or interpretation of a document unless the notary is also an attorney.

Military notaries may make certified copies of some original documents provided that the notary determines the copy to be certified is a full, true, and accurate transcription or reproduction of the original, usually by observing the copying process. Notaries will not make certified copies of public records (e.g. court records, birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, car titles, tax returns, and military leave and earning statements), because a certified copy can be obtained from an official source. Civilian notaries commissioned by the California Secretary of State may only certify copies of powers of attorney and journal entries.

Notarial services are provided on a walk-in basis to those eligible at the Legal Assistance Office, which is located in building 288 on Barstow Road across from the Military Police station. For more information call 380-5321.




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